You can use the following form to get a quote for any of our software product or a volume licensing package and process your order on-line. L to R: Maura Barry Boyle Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Bureau for Food Security USAID, US Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda Tasting Coffee at the Declaration of Partnership signing at Kampala Serena Hotel. Most of the WTO’s agreements were the outcome of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations. Some, including GATT , were revisions of texts that previously existed under GATT as multilateral or plurilateral agreements. Some, such as GATS, were new. The full package of multilateral Uruguay Round agreements is called the round’s.
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- Contained in the Covered Agreements
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- Appendix 1: Agreements Covered by the Understanding
- WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
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The rules and procedures of this Understanding shall apply subject to such special or additional rules and procedures on dispute settlement contained in the covered agreements as are identified in Appendix 2 to this Understanding. The Chairman shall be guided by the principle that special or additional rules and procedures should be used where possible, and the rules and procedures set out in this Understanding should be used to the extent necessary to avoid conflict. The Dispute Settlement Body is hereby established to administer these rules and procedures and, except as otherwise provided in a covered agreement, the consultation and dispute settlement provisions of the covered agreements.
Accordingly, the DSB shall have the authority to establish panels, adopt panel and Appellate Body reports, maintain surveillance of implementation of rulings and recommendations, and authorize suspension of concessions and other obligations under the covered agreements.
Where the DSB administers the dispute settlement provisions of a Plurilateral Trade Agreement, only those Members that are parties to that Agreement may participate in decisions or actions taken by the DSB with respect to that dispute. The DSB shall inform the relevant WTO Councils and Committees of any developments in disputes related to provisions of the respective covered agreements. The DSB shall meet as often as necessary to carry out its functions within the time-frames provided in this Understanding.
Where the rules and procedures of this Understanding provide for the DSB to take a decision, it shall do so by consensus. The dispute settlement system of the WTO is a central element in providing security and predictability to the multilateral trading system. The Members recognize that it serves to preserve the rights and obligations of Members under the covered agreements, and to clarify the existing provisions of those agreements in accordance with customary rules of interpretation of public international law.
Recommendations and rulings of the DSB cannot add to or diminish the rights and obligations provided in the covered agreements.
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The prompt settlement of situations in which a Member considers that any benefits accruing to it directly or indirectly under the covered agreements are being impaired by measures taken by another Member is essential to the effective functioning of the WTO and the maintenance of a proper balance between the rights and obligations of Members.
Mutually agreed solutions to matters formally raised under the consultation and dispute settlement provisions of the covered agreements shall be notified to the DSB and the relevant Councils and Committees, where any Member may raise any point relating thereto.
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Before bringing a case, a Member shall exercise its judgement as to whether action under these procedures would be fruitful.
A solution mutually acceptable to the parties to a dispute and consistent with the covered agreements is clearly to be preferred.
In the absence of a mutually agreed solution, the first objective of the dispute settlement mechanism is usually to secure the withdrawal of the measures concerned if these are found to be inconsistent with the provisions of any of the covered agreements. This means that there is normally a presumption that a breach of the rules has an adverse impact on other Members parties to that covered agreement, and in such cases, it shall be up to the Member against whom the complaint has been brought to rebut the charge.
The provisions of this Understanding are without prejudice to the rights of Members to seek authoritative interpretation of provisions of a covered agreement through decision-making under the WTO Agreement or a covered agreement which is a Plurilateral Trade Agreement.
Contained in the Covered Agreements
It is understood that requests for conciliation and the use of the dispute settlement procedures should not be intended or considered as contentious acts and that, if a dispute arises, all Members will engage in these procedures in good faith in an effort to resolve the dispute.
It is also understood that complaints and counter-complaints in regard to distinct matters should not be linked. This Understanding shall be applied only with respect to new requests for consultations under the consultation provisions of the covered agreements made on or after the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement.
With respect to disputes for which the request for consultations was made under GATT or under any other predecessor agreement to the covered agreements before the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement, the relevant dispute settlement rules and procedures in effect immediately prior to the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement shall continue to apply.
Each Member undertakes to accord sympathetic consideration to and afford adequate opportunity for consultation regarding any representations made by another Member concerning measures affecting the operation of any covered agreement taken within the territory of the former. If a request for consultations is made pursuant to a covered agreement, the Member to which the request is made shall, unless otherwise mutually agreed, reply to the request within 10 days after the date of its receipt and shall enter into consultations in good faith within a period of no more than 30 days after the date of receipt of the request, with a view to reaching a mutually satisfactory solution.
If the Member does not respond within 10 days after the date of receipt of the request, or does not enter into consultations within a period of no more than 30 days, or a period otherwise mutually agreed, after the date of receipt of the request, then the Member that requested the holding of consultations may proceed directly to request the establishment of a panel.
All such requests for consultations shall be notified to the DSB and the relevant Councils and Committees by the Member which requests consultations. Any request for consultations shall be submitted in writing and shall give the reasons for the request, including identification of the measures at issue and an indication of the legal basis for the complaint.
In the course of consultations in accordance with the provisions of a covered agreement, before resorting to further action under this Understanding, Members should attempt to obtain satisfactory adjustment of the matter. Consultations shall be confidential, and without prejudice to the rights of any Member in any further proceedings.
If the consultations fail to settle a dispute within 60 days after the date of receipt of the request for consultations, the complaining party may request the establishment of a panel.
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The complaining party may request a panel during the day period if the consulting parties jointly consider that consultations have failed to settle the dispute. In cases of urgency, including those which concern perishable goods, Members shall enter into consultations within a period of no more than 10 days after the date of receipt of the request.
If the consultations have failed to settle the dispute within a period of 20 days after the date of receipt of the request, the complaining party may request the establishment of a panel.
In cases of urgency, including those which concern perishable goods, the parties to the dispute, panels and the Appellate Body shall make every effort to accelerate the proceedings to the greatest extent possible.
Appendix 1: Agreements Covered by the Understanding
During consultations Members should give special attention to the particular problems and interests of developing country Members. Such Member shall be joined in the consultations, provided that the Member to which the request for consultations was addressed agrees that the claim of substantial interest is well-founded.
In that event they shall so inform the DSB. Good offices, conciliation and mediation are procedures that are undertaken voluntarily if the parties to the dispute so agree.
Proceedings involving good offices, conciliation and mediation, and in particular positions taken by the parties to the dispute during these proceedings, shall be confidential, and without prejudice to the rights of either party in any further proceedings under these procedures.
WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
Good offices, conciliation or mediation may be requested at any time by any party to a dispute. They may begin at any time and be terminated at any time.
Once procedures for good offices, conciliation or mediation are terminated, a complaining party may then proceed with a request for the establishment of a panel. When good offices, conciliation or mediation are entered into within 60 days after the date of receipt of a request for consultations, the complaining party must allow a period of 60 days after the date of receipt of the request for consultations before requesting the establishment of a panel.
The complaining party may request the establishment of a panel during the day period if the parties to the dispute jointly consider that the good offices, conciliation or mediation process has failed to settle the dispute. If the parties to a dispute agree, procedures for good offices, conciliation or mediation may continue while the panel process proceeds. The request for the establishment of a panel shall be made in writing.
It shall indicate whether consultations were held, identify the specific measures at issue and provide a brief summary of the legal basis of the complaint sufficient to present the problem clearly.
In case the applicant requests the establishment of a panel with other than standard terms of reference, the written request shall include the proposed text of special terms of reference. Panels shall have the following terms of reference unless the parties to the dispute agree otherwise within 20 days from the establishment of the panel:. Panels shall address the relevant provisions in any covered agreement or agreements cited by the parties to the dispute.
The terms of reference thus drawn up shall be circulated to all Members. If other than standard terms of reference are agreed upon, any Member may raise any point relating thereto in the DSB.
Panel members should be selected with a view to ensuring the independence of the members, a sufficiently diverse background and a wide spectrum of experience. To assist in the selection of panelists, the Secretariat shall maintain an indicative list of governmental and non-governmental individuals possessing the qualifications outlined in paragraph 1, from which panelists may be drawn as appropriate.
Members may periodically suggest names of governmental and non-governmental individuals for inclusion on the indicative list, providing relevant information on their knowledge of international trade and of the sectors or subject matter of the covered agreements, and those names shall be added to the list upon approval by the DSB.
For each of the individuals on the list, the list shall indicate specific areas of experience or expertise of the individuals in the sectors or subject matter of the covered agreements. Members shall be informed promptly of the composition of the panel. The Secretariat shall propose nominations for the panel to the parties to the dispute.
The parties to the dispute shall not oppose nominations except for compelling reasons. If there is no agreement on the panelists within 20 days after the date of the establishment of a panel, at the request of either party, the Director-General, in consultation with the Chairman of the DSB and the Chairman of the relevant Council or Committee, shall determine the composition of the panel by appointing the panelists whom the Director-General considers most appropriate in accordance with any relevant special or additional rules or procedures of the covered agreement or covered agreements which are at issue in the dispute, after consulting with the parties to the dispute.
The Chairman of the DSB shall inform the Members of the composition of the panel thus formed no later than 10 days after the date the Chairman receives such a request. Members shall undertake, as a general rule, to permit their officials to serve as panelists. Panelists shall serve in their individual capacities and not as government representatives, nor as representatives of any organization.
Members shall therefore not give them instructions nor seek to influence them as individuals with regard to matters before a panel.
When a dispute is between a developing country Member and a developed country Member the panel shall, if the developing country Member so requests, include at least one panelist from a developing country Member. Where more than one Member requests the establishment of a panel related to the same matter, a single panel may be established to examine these complaints taking into account the rights of all Members concerned.
A single panel should be established to examine such complaints whenever feasible. The single panel shall organize its examination and present its findings to the DSB in such a manner that the rights which the parties to the dispute would have enjoyed had separate panels examined the complaints are in no way impaired. If one of the parties to the dispute so requests, the panel shall submit separate reports on the dispute concerned.
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The written submissions by each of the complainants shall be made available to the other complainants, and each complainant shall have the right to be present when any one of the other complainants presents its views to the panel.
If more than one panel is established to examine the complaints related to the same matter, to the greatest extent possible the same persons shall serve as panelists on each of the separate panels and the timetable for the panel process in such disputes shall be harmonized. The interests of the parties to a dispute and those of other Members under a covered agreement at issue in the dispute shall be fully taken into account during the panel process.
These submissions shall also be given to the parties to the dispute and shall be reflected in the panel report. Third parties shall receive the submissions of the parties to the dispute to the first meeting of the panel. If a third party considers that a measure already the subject of a panel proceeding nullifies or impairs benefits accruing to it under any covered agreement, that Member may have recourse to normal dispute settlement procedures under this Understanding.
Such a dispute shall be referred to the original panel wherever possible. The function of panels is to assist the DSB in discharging its responsibilities under this Understanding and the covered agreements.
Accordingly, a panel should make an objective assessment of the matter before it, including an objective assessment of the facts of the case and the applicability of and conformity with the relevant covered agreements, and make such other findings as will assist the DSB in making the recommendations or in giving the rulings provided for in the covered agreements.
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Panels should consult regularly with the parties to the dispute and give them adequate opportunity to develop a mutually satisfactory solution. Panels shall follow the Working Procedures in Appendix 3 unless the panel decides otherwise after consulting the parties to the dispute.
Panel procedures should provide sufficient flexibility so as to ensure high-quality panel reports, while not unduly delaying the panel process.
In determining the timetable for the panel process, the panel shall provide sufficient time for the parties to the dispute to prepare their submissions. Panels should set precise deadlines for written submissions by the parties and the parties should respect those deadlines.
Each party to the dispute shall deposit its written submissions with the Secretariat for immediate transmission to the panel and to the other party or parties to the dispute. Any subsequent written submissions shall be submitted simultaneously. Where the parties to the dispute have failed to develop a mutually satisfactory solution, the panel shall submit its findings in the form of a written report to the DSB. In such cases, the report of a panel shall set out the findings of fact, the applicability of relevant provisions and the basic rationale behind any findings and recommendations that it makes.
Where a settlement of the matter among the parties to the dispute has been found, the report of the panel shall be confined to a brief description of the case and to reporting that a solution has been reached. In order to make the procedures more efficient, the period in which the panel shall conduct its examination, from the date that the composition and terms of reference of the panel have been agreed upon until the date the final report is issued to the parties to the dispute, shall, as a general rule, not exceed six months.
In cases of urgency, including those relating to perishable goods, the panel shall aim to issue its report to the parties to the dispute within three months. When the panel considers that it cannot issue its report within six months, or within three months in cases of urgency, it shall inform the DSB in writing of the reasons for the delay together with an estimate of the period within which it will issue its report.
In no case should the period from the establishment of the panel to the circulation of the report to the Members exceed nine months. If, after the relevant period has elapsed, the consulting parties cannot agree that the consultations have concluded, the Chairman of the DSB shall decide, after consultation with the parties, whether to extend the relevant period and, if so, for how long.
In addition, in examining a complaint against a developing country Member, the panel shall accord sufficient time for the developing country Member to prepare and present its argumentation. The provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 20 and paragraph 4 of Article 21 are not affected by any action pursuant to this paragraph.
The panel may suspend its work at any time at the request of the complaining party for a period not to exceed 12 months. If the work of the panel has been suspended for more than 12 months, the authority for establishment of the panel shall lapse. Each panel shall have the right to seek information and technical advice from any individual or body which it deems appropriate.
However, before a panel seeks such information or advice from any individual or body within the jurisdiction of a Member it shall inform the authorities of that Member.